Summary – PigIT, University of Copenhagen

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Summary

Welfare and mortality in pig herds is a major challenge for the Danish pig industry. In addition a substantial part of the value chain is lost due to a drastically increased export of live piglets in recent years. Today, the existing methods and tools to support farmers in monitoring growing pigs have been insufficient to ensure proper action. More advanced ICT methods and tools are needed for optimal decision making to improve animal welfare and productivity.

For this reason we propose the launch of a strategic alliance for advanced PigIT. The alliance will build a sustainable top-level research environment with the aim to integrate ICT in the entire production process at herd level through improved methods for automatic monitoring, process optimisation and advanced operations research methods for decision support in growing pigs. The alliance is a cooperation of leading herd management and animal welfare scientists at the two Danish universities dealing with animal production and welfare. The alliance is further strengthened through international collaboration with leading experts in the fields and involvement of statisticians, computer scientists and economists from other research institutes as well as main players in the pig industry.

The strategic alliance will go beyond state-of-the-art, and fully integrate data streams and decision support in the data and management infrastructure of a pig farm. We target the monitoring methods and decision support for also improving animal welfare. The resulting research will improve both animal welfare and the competitiveness of the Danish pig industry and will provide a basis for new commercial products with an international market perspective.